Covid-19, novel coronavirus 2019
Novel Coronavirus 2019 (Covid-19) (CDC Image)

MONTEREY COUNTY — Monterey County is being asked to close all bars and indoor operations for restaurants, wineries, movie theaters, zoos, museums and cardrooms following a recent surge of Covid-19 cases and hospitalizations among residents in the area.

Monday’s request came in the form of a tweet from California Gov. Gavin Newsom on Twitter.

“(Covid-19) cases continue to spread at alarming rates in some CA counties,” Newsom wrote, listing six counties that included Monterey.

An official order as well as an effective date for these closures were not given as of Monday.

Last Thursday Monterey County was placed on the state’s Covid-19 county data monitoring watch list after exceeding the 14-day case rate threshold of 100 cases per 100,000 residents and the threshold for percent change in three-day average hospitalizations.

“The 14-day case rate equals the total number of cases diagnosed and reported over a 14-day period divided by the number of people living in the county. This number is then multiplied by 100,000,” explained Karen Smith, public information officer for the Monterey County Health Department in a July 2 news release. “The percent change in confirmed Covid-19 hospitalized patients is calculated by comparing the average number of laboratory-confirmed Covid-19 patients hospitalized over the past three days to the three days prior.”

At that time, Monterey County’s 14-day case rate per 100,000 was at 107.4, while its percent change in three-day average Covid-19 hospitalizations was 79.2 percent. On Monday, the case rate increased to 112.3, but the hospitalization percentage was below the threshold.

The county’s seven-day average testing positivity rate, however, was just above the state threshold of 8 percent on Monday, at 8.1 percent.

Since the county remained on the watch list for three or more consecutive days, the state requires the closing of all brewpubs, breweries, bars and pubs — both indoors and outdoors — for at least three weeks.

In addition, indoor operations for all dine-in restaurants, wineries and tasting rooms, movie theaters, family entertainment centers, zoos, museums and cardrooms are forced to shut down. Outdoor operations may continue with appropriate modifications.

“Monterey County continues to work with local businesses, hospitals, clinics and congregate living facilities to quickly identify and isolate individuals diagnosed with Covid-19,” Smith said.

A total of 2,151 residents have tested positive for the coronavirus in Monterey County, according to the Monterey County Health Department’s latest report Monday. More than 800 new cases were reported in just the past two weeks.

Monday’s report also showed that 1,203 of those residents have recovered from the respiratory disease so far.

Three more deaths, however, were reported last week. There have now been 15 deaths related to Covid-19 in Monterey County as of Monday.

The majority of those infected with Covid-19 are from the Salinas area (1,269), with the others from South County (545), North County (166) and the Peninsula and Big Sur area (171), according to the most recent data.

Within South County, the numbers have been broken down by zip code. King City (93930) has the most cases with 185, followed by Greenfield (93927) with 175, Soledad (93960) with 120 and Gonzales (93926) with 51. Fourteen cases are classified as “other” in South County.

A cumulative total of 149 residents have been hospitalized due to the virus, 38 of whom are active hospitalizations with six in the intensive care unit (ICU), as of Monday’s latest report.

“We all have a responsibility in slowing this disease and protecting the most vulnerable among us,” said Dr. Edward Moreno, Monterey County Health Officer, in a news release Monday. “We will follow the Governor’s directive and expect all residents, visitors and business owners to do so as well. Let’s all do our part by wearing face coverings, keeping our distance from others, staying home when sick and not attending social gatherings.”

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Ryan Cronk is the managing editor for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers general news for South Monterey County and the surrounding communities.


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